Friday of Easter II – John 20:19-31

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Do you envy Thomas his empirical knowledge of the resurrection? He touched the living Christ. He traced the nail marks with his fingers, touched the place in Jesus’ side where the spear had pierced him. Were the wounds still raw? Had they healed? Were they scarred? How did they appear to Thomas and the rest of the disciples that night? John tells us none of this, only that it was clearly Jesus. That must have been an amazing evening in that upper room, both the first and second week when Jesus came among them.

Thomas, stunned and overwhelmed by the evidence, confesses that Christ is Lord and God. Read again carefully the words which Jesus and John say next. Thomas believes because he has seen. But Jesus has a blessing for those who do not see and yet believe. That would be every reader of this Gospel who makes that same confession of Christ. That would be you. The disciples had come to Thomas and told him that Jesus had risen. But he did not believe them. Those same apostles have written of their encounters with the risen Jesus. You read them in the letters of Paul, John, and Peter, and in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  You are probably reading these words of mine because you believed the testimony of those apostles. Jesus just called you blessed in a way which did not apply to Thomas. He believed. He is not condemned. But Jesus says that you are blessed for your faith.

John rather nonchalantly tells us that Jesus did a bunch of other miracles. He did not tell us about those. He told us what he told us, however, so that you and me, the readers of this book, may believe that Jesus is the Christ. Carefully notice the tense of the verb there. Jesus is, not was, He is the Son of God. Confessing thisLord and God is life itself. Enjoy the blessing of Jesus today. He is glad you believe.

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